Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Have Called You Friends



John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Yes, it's illogical.

But every time I have an upcoming event for my novels, and am loading all the necessities into the car, I can't bear to load Racer, my squirrel puppet, overnight.  I just can't.  I don't wish to envision this charming guy waiting in a dark and lonely car boot when his usual place is atop our printer next to my computer.  My husband, Danny, laughs, though kindly, at my eccentricity.

I know . . .

It's illogical.

Irrational.

But remnants of childhood imaginings rule the day for me when it comes to Racer.  He is a part of me, not just mentally in my books, but physically when my hand's movements transform his inert image, and his character comes to life with the mere wiggle of fingers.  My antics with him intrigue passers-by with a gamut of reactions:  amused; surprised; confused; startled, but most of all, engaged.

I know I would neither see nor realize all those emotions in strangers were it not for Racer.  The actions of my arm, my fingers, are God-willed in making him come to life; some folks even do double takes, thinking for a brief moment that he is a real, live, breathing squirrel!

And as strange as it may sound, Racer is alive to me.

A loyal companion.

Realer than real.

Truer than true.

Not my servant, but my friend.



How does knowing you are Jesus' friend, not His servant, affect you?

Prayer:  Father, it sounds illogical and irrational that Your beloved Son, Jesus, would call us His friends, yet that is exactly what He did and continues to do.  May we ever celebrate the new life You have given us through Jesus, and show the world what it means to be His friend.  It is in His precious name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Even To Your Old Age


Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age and grey hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

While I am staying with my mother during her recuperation from leg surgery, my daughter, Sarah, and her husband, John, bring themselves and the three grand-girls down to Mom's house for a most welcome visit.  Oh, how those little ones brighten Mom's day, not to mention mine!


Alexandra Nancy


Savannah Jane


Virginia Rose

Sarah, Virginia Rose and I retreat to the porch for a spell to escape the sounds of Atlanta Falcons' football.  (Did I mention Mom is hard of hearing?  My word, how loud the television is!)  Virginia is wrapped up in practicing writing her name and drawing butterflies as Sarah and I converse.

"I do hope if and when I get to be as old as your Nana," I say to her, "that I can count on you to help me out just as I'm helping her now."

"Of course, Mom," Sarah assures me.  "I'll be right there for you."

Virginia pauses in her work, looks directly at me, and states in all seriousness, "Gammie, you'll never get old."

Sarah and I share a hearty laugh over this, but it gets me thinking.  When I look at my 87-year-old mother, I don't see her as an elderly person.  I really don't.  She's just Mom, plain and simple.  Maybe that's true for all of us when we see family members through the eyes of love.

And I believe that's how God sees us, too.  Though our hair is grey, our faces careworn, and our bodies bent with age, we are still His little children.  He made us and promises to sustain us.  He carries us and will ultimately rescue us when our time comes to return home to Him.

I find great comfort in these thoughts.

And I rest assured in the knowledge that no matter how old I get or how much I age in looks, to Virginia, I'll simply be the Gammie she loves.

~
Are you aging gracefully, or is it a struggle for you?

Prayer:  Father, no matter how old we are, it is such a blessing to know we are Your beloved children.  Help us to remember that wrinkles and grey hairs do not define who we are in Your sight, and that is all that truly matters.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Homecoming


John 14:2
My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

My brother, Bill, arrives at our mother's house to relieve me from my post for a couple of days.  The rest is much needed and welcomed, and Mom is so happy to have her son with her, as well as her grandson, Daniel, who is now a full-time student and a dependable companion when he's not in class.  I can depart knowing my mother is in good hands.

Because I cannot handle expressways, the journey home from Oxford to Kennesaw, Georgia, is a long one along the back roads and byways.  Pleasant through the rural settings, stop and go with the traffic lights as I pass through several small towns along the way, but as eager as I am to get home, I only allow myself one pit stop in my two-hour-forty-five-minute trip.

I can't wait to see my husband, Danny, and my stepson, Giovanni, and to sleep for a few brief nights in my own familiar bed.  When I arrive at the last light before turning toward our neighborhood, I am surprised by the tears of relief welling in my eyes.  Almost home!  Almost home!  I will my car to soar speedily on angels' wings, yet I realize as I traverse the last leg through the neighborhood, I am cherishing each and every house, yard, tree, and stop sign as if I'm seeing them for the first time.  How I've missed what I've too often taken for granted!

And when I enter our house, I can't believe my eyes.  Everything is spic and span!  Danny and Giovanni have knocked their socks off cleaning floors, counter tops and bathrooms; the laundry is done, and there are fresh sheets on the newly made beds.  If that weren't enough, this beautiful bouquet greets me with a sunny welcome.




Danny and Giovanni have done everything possible to make my homecoming the perfect one.

And I envision, after my long and sometimes arduous journey in this life, another homecoming.  The one in the place the Lord has lovingly prepared for me.

My warm, welcoming and perfect eternal home . . .


~

Have you ever had to be away from your home for a long period of time?  How did you feel when you returned?

Prayer:  We thank You, Father, for preparing a special place for each and every one of us when we go to spend eternity with You.  Thank You for Your endless grace, love and mercy shown to us at all times and in all places.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Because I have returned to Mom's house to help out, there won't be a post this Tuesday.  Hoping to see you all again next Friday!  Blessings!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Can Do All This


Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I have my daily routine down pat.  Morning coffee, prayer journal and scripture reading, checking email, reading inspirational blogs, catching up on the news, heading for the gym, cleaning, feeding the birds, laundry, and writing during the afternoon.  Supper time finds Danny at the stove and me on clean-up duty.  In the evening?  Time to unwind and relax!

Oh, how that comfortable routine is disrupted when I go to stay at my mother's house for two weeks!  From the instant my feet hit the floor in the morning, I am off and running, stepping and fetching, throughout the day.  I'm not complaining, mind you, but the adjustment to my mother's schedule and her needs at all hours of the day and night certainly has my mind in a whirl.  It is all so new and all so demanding.  At times, I can barely catch my breath let alone spend any quiet time in writing or reflection.

But in those moments when I feel particularly burdened, I remember that God is with me.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  It is His peace encompassing my being that helps me remain calm and steadfast in my care-giving.  And in the midst of all the chaos and uncertainty of the day to day, I come face-to-face with His incomparable joy.

After all, I remind myself, isn't it a blessing to have my mother still with me?  With us?  Serving her, tending to her in her hour of need is the least I can do for the one who gave birth to me and has cared for me and about me all these many years.

Yes, I'm tired.  But it's my joy to be your strength in these days, Mom.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

~

Are you trusting in Christ to give you the strength you need for this day?

Prayer:  Father, when we are exhausted and at the end of our rope, let us cling to the promise that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  Help us to focus upon Your great love and mercy that we might show the same to those whom we serve.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2015

God's Good Purpose


Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

For most of my life, I haven't had issues with sleeping soundly through the night and waking up at a bright and early time in the morning.  The past few years, but this last one in particular, I find myself rousing up in the night, sometimes repeatedly, to use the bathroom.  Is that simply something to be expected when one turns sixty? :)  The good news is, I'm always able to lie right back down, snuggle under the covers, and fall fast asleep again.

I spend the last two weeks with my mother as she, at long last, is released from rehab after suffering a fractured right femur.  She requires 24/7 occupancy in the house by a family member to make sure she can navigate, protected, from pillar to post.  We decide early on to use our cell phones to communicate during the night should she need assistance in getting out of and back into bed when nature calls.

It works!

I hear the calls and immediately leap out of my bed in the adjacent room to hasten to her.  Once I tuck her back into bed and return to mine, both of us, thankfully, are able to doze off peacefully into the land of dreams.

After my first night spent in Mom's home, reality hits.  All my moments of nocturnal awakenings, yet being able to regain soothing sleep, was God's way of training me, preparing me to meet my mother's needs down the road.

To fulfill His good purpose.

For God is good, all the time.

~

Have you ever cared for an aging parent or loved one?

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for guiding us in all our endeavors and leading us along the paths You have so lovingly created for us.  May all our actions reflect Your will and fulfill Your good purpose for our lives.  In Jesus' name, we pray, amen.


He's Waiting for You

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. This week has been a hectic one for me.  I babysit the grands three di...